Published: Sat, May 20, 2017
Money | By Armando Alvarado

Mueller Investigation Will Prolong, Not Halt, Political Controversy Over Russia

That was two days after Rosenstein named Mueller as a special counsel to investigate possible coordination between Russian Federation and the Trump campaign to influence the 2016 presidential election.

At least one GOP lawmaker used the session to voice the view, embraced by Trump, that the entire investigation is a "witch hunt" against the president, according to two fellow Republicans who attended.

Donald Trump called James Comey within weeks of his inauguration and asked when federal authorities would announce the President was not personally under investigation over links to Russian Federation, it has been claimed.

Rosenstein's memo, which said Comey improperly spoke publicly about an investigation into Hillary Clinton's emails, was initially cited as the reason President Donald Trump fired Comey last week.

Early in the day, a seething Trump took to Twitter to blast the appointment, which shook Washington and sent world stock markets tumbling.

"This is the single greatest witch hunt of a politician in American history!" Trump wrote, his anger boiling over.

Former Assistant FBI Director Ron Hosko, the current president of the Law Enforcement Legal Defense Fund, said Mr. Mueller's appointment as special counsel may well have something to do with that.

There's a staircase under the Robert E. Lee statue?
But Frank Varela Jr., a New Orleans native carrying an American flag, said he thought Lee should stay up as "a part of the South". The area that formerly housed the Jefferson Davis statue will soon feature an American flag, the city announced Thursday night.

U.S. intelligence suspects that Russian President Vladimir Putin orchestrated a sweeping campaign to tilt the vote in the Republican's favour.

At the centre of the political firestorm are Trump's former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his one-time campaign manager Paul Manafort, and their multiple undisclosed contacts with Russian officials during and after the vote.

So far, no evidence of collusion has been presented, but the question has consumed the first four months of Trump's presidency and spurred multiple crises that have left the White House shell-shocked. But lawmakers at both congressional sessions expressed frustration that Rosenstein would say little in answer to their questions about his actions - or others' - before Comey's firing.

Asked outright whether he had asked Comey - as reported - to drop the investigation into the Moscow connections of his sacked national security adviser, Michael Flynn, Trump fired back: "No".

Asked point-blank if he'd done anything that might merit prosecution or even impeachment, Trump said no - and then added of the lingering allegations and questions: "I think it's totally ridiculous". He's not going to go looking for dresses and scandalous things. However the White House said there would be no announcement Friday. Republicans on Capitol Hill hoped the same, reasoning that the appointment of a special counsel could free them to work on a major tax overhaul - and other matters - without constant distractions.

Mr. Rosenstein announced Wednesday the appointment of Mr. Mueller, who served as the Federal Bureau of Investigation director for 12 years, as special counsel in the probe.

The President also suggested that the investigation now being headed by Mr. Mueller was motivated by an attempt by Democrats to explain away "having lost an election that they should have easily won because of the Electoral College being slanted so much in their way".

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